Sunday, 2 June 2013


A group of descendents of New Zealand soldiers came to Azogires on May the 9th. 2 Mini bus loadsof heart warming active good hearted people. They arrived on Crete several days before and started on monday the 6th several days of commemoration gatherings. The first one was at Sougia War museum, many people came together to see and learn about the brave people who in World War II said NO to slavery, and YES to freedom. The next day they went to Tripiti by boat, and posted a plaque to honour the people of Western Crete for the sacrefices they made in providing save heaven for numerous Australian, New Zealand, British and Cypriot soldiers between 1941 and 1945. The last group of these soldiers was evacuated from Tripiti by the Royal Navy on 7 and 8th May of 1943. Erected in graditude by the families of the evacuees. The next day they went to Koustogerako, and held a service at the main War monument of the village. For Koustogerako we will have never enough monuments, because throughout the centories it has been the torch of freedom, the village itself has been burnt down 3 times in the past 700 years. The last one being in 1943.

 And on thursday they honoured us with their presence in our very own village of Azogires. They were greeted Cretan style by the locals, who welcomed them with open arms. The reason they came to our village was to have several excursions to the local War museum at the monastery, to the neighbourhood of Pateriana, in order to visit the house of Pateraki Angeliki, where she and her father hid an allyed soldier by the name of Arthur Pauling, or as they baptised him; Leftheris. So local informents would not be able to tell they had him there. He stayed with them for almost 2 years, and became literally part of the family.The son of Angeliki, Yannis Paterakis greeted them with a bottle of raki and local ecological walnuts. It was very emotional for them, and a little bit the feeling of the past. A touch of the strong raki brought them to a trance of emotions and joy.

 The other group headed for the neighbourhood Koukoutsiana, to visit the church of Saint John the hermit, and the grave of Sophia and Eftihis Koukoutsakis, for 2 reasons; a; Sophia Paterakis Koukoutsakis was a little girl at Koustogerako in 1943, the day the group of Nazi soldiers entered and burnt the village to the ground, gathering all the women and children inside a house and pouring diesel on it, to burn them literally alive. Although they were trained to kill, inside them there was still a human. And when the women and children started to scream; 'Don't burn us like animals, kill us better', that's when they let them out, and led them to nearby patio. Placing them in an excecution line. That's when young Sophia attacked the excecutioner, fought with him, brought him to the ground, hit him with a stone in the head, took his machine gun, and led about 30 surviving women and children to safety. As the allied soldiers and local guerillas had opened fire up on the enemy. She herself got seriously injured, but made it out alive.

 the second reason was; Eftihis Koukoutsakis, also a resistance fighter of the time, during World War II period, had hid in a mountain cave a New Zealand

soldier, by the name of Len Frazer, who was the father of Ian Frazer, co-author of the very detailed book 'On the Run'. Afterwords they went to visit the carved cave of Azogires, which served as fortresses during Turkish occupation and watchtowers during World War II. The most brave actually climbed up to the caves, while the rest of us relaxed, enjoyed the view and admired their bravery to climb so high. It was a day we, the Azogirians would never forget. We could keep writing about it, another year. And it wouldn't be enough. I as the president of the Azogires Cultural Association, will say on behalf of all the villagers that they are always welcomed to come back for we felt that we spend the day with our own family members.

1 comment:

Angela Salisbury said...

Hi Lucky,
so sorry to hear about Bill Clinton, it is heart breaking to lose a life long dog friend, although he will remain at your side in spirit.
I hope that you and your family are well
Fondest best wishes
Angela (from England, Martin's X and Joseph and Lara's mum